Plant Common Name
Common Viper's Bugloss
Native to Europe and western Asia and a common roadside weed over much of the United States, this bristly biennial is grown for its tall summer-long spikes of azure flowers.
First-year seedlings of this hardy biennial form broad rosettes of large, rough, lance-shaped leaves. The following growing season, long steeple-like clusters of small funnel-shaped blooms are borne on stout upright stems that continue to appear from late spring to late summer. Flowers are typically pink aging to blue, but lavender-, pink-, and white-flowered cultivars are available, as are dwarf forms such as 'Blue Bedder'. Plants usually self-sow abundantly if not deadheaded.
This bee, butterfly, and hummingbird magnet thrives in full sun and well-drained, moderately fertile soil. Sow seed in fall for spring to summer bloom next year. Some cultivars bloom their first year if sown in early spring. Deadhead to prolong bloom and to prevent self-sowing. The bristly leaves and stems may cause skin irritation. Viper's bugloss works well in bedding schemes, mixed borders, and meadow plantings. This prolific self-sower is listed as a noxious weed in Australia, New Zealand, and portions of the United States and Canada.
AHS Heat Zone
8 - 1
USDA Hardiness Zone
3 - 8
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
1'-3' / 0.3m - 0.9m
12"-18" / 30.5cm - 45.7cm
Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer
Europe, Western Asia
Bedding Plant, Container, Mixed Border, Wildflower
Sharp or Has Thorns